10/09/12

Commenting on the government’s announcement about the reduction of health and safety inspections, and other forms of business red tape, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 

“Efforts to reduce the burden of health and safety regulation will be welcome news to many businesses. Ensuring that low-risk workplaces are exempted from inspections is a sensible change that will save employers time and money without reducing the safety of workers. The cost savings to HSE and local authorities of fewer inspections should be reinvested in business support services so that fewer employers are forced to pay for costly consultancy services whose advice often goes beyond what the regulation requires. The removal of the ‘strict liability’ currently attached to some health and safety regulations will reduce an important burden on employers. The threat of being found liable for a health safety claim, even when the employer has not been negligent, is enough to put anyone off running their own business.

“The BCC has long argued for a risk-based approach to health and safety with industry-specific rules and a light-touch regime for those operating a low-risk workplace. The government’s own figures suggest that the administrative burden associated with the HSE is approximately £2bn each year and that does not include compliance costs. Health and safety regulation in the workplace is important, but needs to be proportionate to the risks of each workplace.

“While the Red Tape Challenge has delivered some welcome changes, the overall number of regulations on the books remains far too high. The extent to which businesses actually benefit will depend on whether the regulations affected are the most burdensome ones or just arcane rules that are no longer applied. We will measure the government’s success by the reduction in businesses costs, which means that employers will expect come genuinely burdensome regulations to be scrapped.”

Ends

Notes to editors

Government press notice: http://news.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/Government-red-tape-blitz-to-boost-business-growth-67fc9.aspx

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of 51 Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 104,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

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Lisa Morrison
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